U.S. Wants to Help Fight al-Qaeda in Mali

Sen. John McCain said the U.S. will assess what kind of equipment, training and technology it can provide Mali to battle militants.

Posted: 04/03/2013 11:14 AM EDT
U.S. Wants to Help Fight al-Qaeda in Mali

The U.S. has plans to help troops in Mali combat al-Qaeda linked militants, Sen. John McCain said on Tuesday.

McCain made the remarks while on a two-day visit to Mali’s capital, Bamako, alongside Republican Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. The purpose of the stop was to discuss the country's battle against Islamic extremist rebels in the north with Mali’s acting President Dioncounda Traore and interim Prime Minister Diango Cissoko.

"We will work with the French forces, assess the French and allied forces on the ground, and see to what extent we can provide equipment, training and technology to rid Mali of these rebels, which include al-Qaeda," McCain told reporters.

In January, French forces launched a military offensive against Islamist militants in the country’s Northern regions who threatened the stability of the capital. Although the campaign was successful at loosening the militants’ grips on vulnerable towns, the groups have since re-organized and are now launching suicide attacks and raids.

McCain’s pledge is not the first instance of U.S. help in the region. U.S. drones have already been utilized in Mali to provide intelligence to French and Malian forces.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

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